Cyprus Mail

‘No respect’: MPs irked with local gov reform bills

Interior minister, Constantinos Ioannou
File photo: Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou addresses the 41st Annual General Assembly of the Cyprus Union of Municipalities

MPs slammed on Thursday the last-minute decision by the interior ministry to submit bills on local government reform.

Chairman of the House interior committee, Akel MP Aristos Damianou, said it showed a “complete lack of respect” that the bills were submitted just three months before the slated implementation of local government reform.

Damianou charged it has been two years since the law for local government reform was voted through, providing both past and present governments ample opportunity to submit any necessary amendments. He added that the latest bills even changed the philosophy of the reform in some cases.

Nonetheless, there is no question that upcoming municipal elections will be affected, he assured.

Specifically, three amendments bills have been submitted and another two are expected. The committee will begin discussing them next week, Damianou underlined.

MPs will now be pressed to wrap up the discussion in March, as the electoral list closes on April 2, and nominations are officially made on April 14.

Some of the proposed changes include removing the provision for increased participation of Ayia Napa in the municipal council of the new municipality, and eliminating the requirement for mayors seeking election to the position of district governor to resign.

Local government reform has become a bone of contention between the government and parliament, particularly after Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou blasted MPs for ‘ruining’ the philosophy of the reform.

Ioannou voiced concern over the salaries deputy mayors are expected to receive, which range from €717 to €2,987 per month.

Former Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides and Nicos Nouris argued that political parties effectively butchered the idea of cost-savings, and added so many amendments that created non-viable municipalities.

Nonetheless, the government assured it has the will to implement the reform and resolve any issues with parliament.

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